While recognizing this year has been a garbage fire of epic proportions, I think it’s also worth noting the tremendous talent that emerged in the form of outstanding books, journalism, audio, film and television. Challenging times like these can spark creative genius, and if there is nothing else that comes from our impending doom, let it be that.
50 Most Popular Recipes of 2016, New York Times
Just because I’m mostly vegetarian doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy looking at these mouth-watering recipes from the New York Times. On my list to try soon? Baked rice from Yotam Ottolenghi, Danielle Oron’s salted tahini chocolate chip cookies, and this Lemon Angel Food Cake With Preserved Lemon Curd.
100 Outstanding Audio Stories of 2016, The Bello Collective
Although I’m an occasional contributor to this well-listened collective, I can honestly say I’ve added this list without bias. If you listen to podcasts, the churn of a notable few can be deafening (This American Life, RadioLab, Gimlet), which is what makes this list of podcasts rather exceptional. The team has dug deep to find the best audio stories from across the landscape, and in doing so, broadened our queues.
Slightly More Than 100 Exceptional Works of Journalism – The Atlantic
If we’re being precise, this annual list from The Atlantic‘s Conner Friedersdorf doesn’t belong here: it was released in August and highlights the best works of journalism from 2015. But I’ll make an exception here, because it’s one of the lists I look forward to most all year long; and let’s be honest–I don’t get much reading done until the quiet of the holidays anyway. For the second year in a row, I’ve made it my goal to read this list in its totality; you should too.
23 of DC’s Most Interesting People – Washington City Paper
Nothing annoys me more than hearing someone from Bethesda, or Alexandria, or fucking Fairfax, say they live in Washington, DC. There are only 561,702 people who live in Washington, DC, proper. 561,702 people without representation in Congress. 561,702 who pay the second highest individual income taxes in the country. We are a people working hard to help others understand our community encompasses more than Congress, more than the Smithsonians, more than the monuments. Washington City Paper interviewed 23 of my fellow residents living and working to make a difference in the District we call home. Over the shouts to “drain the swamp,” I invite you to remember that this is the real Washington.
Book Concierge, National Public Radio
One of my favorite year-end traditions is NPR’s book concierge, where surprisingly, no audio is involved. This list allows you to whittle down their impressive 309 suggestions to exactly the kind of read you might be looking for at any given moment. Feeling a little dark? Check out Han Kang’s The Vegetarian. Looking for your next book club selection? Reach for Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad. See, now wasn’t that easy?
100 Americans on the Meaning of Their Jobs, The Atlantic
The Atlantic asked 100 Americans a simple question, “What motivates you to go to you job every day?” The answer can be found in this series highlighting a generous cross-section of American employment. From a train conductor, to an improv teacher, these interviews offer up the best and worst parts of living in a culture obsessed with our professions.
The Best Personal Finance Posts of 2016, Lifehacker
Despite having a comfortable home and job in one of the wealthiest corners of the country, I’ve never really stopped feeling poor. Here’s hoping Lifehacker’s list of their best personal finance stories can alleviate some of that anxiety in 2017.
20 Best Movies of 2016, Rolling Stone
In 2016, I spent a lot more time at theaters showing limited releases, foreign films and art house flicks, which is why this list from Rolling Stone feels like it gets it right. I’m disappointed not to see some of my favorites, including A Man Called Ove, Sing Street, and Hunt for Wilderpeople, on the list. I also can’t agree with their selection of Love and Friendship, which I found terribly boring. With Moonlight, La La Land, and Manchester by the Sea still in theaters, this list still gives me something exciting to look forward to in these waning days of 2016.
Best Television Shows of 2016, New York Times
I spent far too much of my year watching television. I want to blame it on a quarter life crisis that has emerged about 10 years too late, but truthfully, there was so much worth watching this year, that not doing so risked being irrelevant. I loved Fleabag, High Maintenance, and The Crown. I stopped watching old stand-bys in favor of Crashing, Lovesick, and Catastrophe. I marveled at the exquisite seasons of Game of Thrones and Westworld, and I marathoned hours of The Great British Bake-off. I head into 2017 with the same resolutions as most people—more books, less TV—but with stories like this, who can turn away?
2016 in Review, Associated Press
A stark reminder that, despite our current political situation, we lead a charmed life, friends.